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Looking for clarity on what oil to use?

2925 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  OldGoat38
Hey, getting a used 2011 Forester 2.5x Premium (Automatic/120k+ miles). Excited and nervous. Hoping to have a really fun outdoorsy Spring/Summer if all goes well. Looking for some major clarity on what oil to use in this thing. Seems like everything all over the place.

0W-20 - People just use Subaru blend or, is something like Castrol Magnatec better
0W-30 - What's up with how this is what is used in the EU Subarus? Or am I misinformed. Also had another Subaru mechanic suggest this.
5W-30 - Seems like I've been reading a lot of people using Mobile 1, heard good things about Royal Purple High Mileage, also Penzoil Platinum and I guess some of these come in 0W-20 as well, then there are other brands like Valvoline Premium or just NAPA and what seem like more premium stuff like Rotella T6, Delo 400, and Motul.

I'm lost and looking for a sensible approach forward here. Right now, my plan is to take car to mechanic, see what's up, inquire about a few things, probably not make any changes other than necessary, until I see how car drives. Probably will just have mechanic make initial oil change with 0W-20 Synthetic or whatever is recommend and monitor things, checking every 500 miles or so, maybe change out oil again between 1500-3000 miles, possibly try out something else based on how the car is behaving. But, there are a ton of brands, and what seems like no general consensus on what people are using. And from a comfort level stand point, feel as though if I'm running 0W-20 I won’t be at ease about it for a high mileage vehicle.

Sorry for the redundant oil questions, just hoping to settle on something that I can get on board with so I can stop researching friggin oil.
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My rule of thumb...use whatever oil grade/viscosity is recommended by the manufacturer in your owner's manual, and buy whatever major brand is on sale.
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I use Shell Rotella T6 in a 2011 FXT, changing oil and filter every 3000 to 5000 miles. The interval depends more on time constraints than mileage. For example if I'm at 5k and the weather is miserable, I might put it off until it's nicer out, as my garage isn't well insulated and unheated. Or I might do it early if it is nice.

I'm pretty sure the 2.5x still requires synthetic oil, so that does eliminate some of the oil options out there, although there are a lot still left. Your monitoring interval is good; you might be able to get away with checking every 1000 once you're sure you aren't consuming oil.

Frankly, the place to start is with the manufacturer's recommended weight and formulation. Worry about branding later, but it seems like you're mentioning good name brands, so you're safe there. Personally, I'd avoid the NAPA/AutoZone/whatever other auto supply place branded oils. Oil is cheap compared to motors.
Doesn't Rotella T6 only come in 5W40 and 0W40? If so which you using?
Nvm the T6 multi vehicle is 5W30
After having many many used oil analysis on my vehicles. And looking at results of thousands more.

The bottom line is oil is oil. No one can claim one oil is better than another oil. If u use 0W-20 it will be syn oil. Go with any 0W-20 oil. SuperTech Syn is fine.
I have used SuperTech. I have a favorite its Quaker State Ultimate Durability. I am using it in my FT during the winter. I will do a used oil analysis.
IMHO, the best way to decide among oil options:

Find a guy who will buy you a beer or two and follow his deeply held oil recommendation. That way every time you get a free beer, you will be benefiting from the oil choice. Your car won't tell the difference in oil, but you will. Win, win!
I have a favorite its Quaker State Ultimate Durability
I also used this oil. Got it at Wal Mart.

I may switch to Pennzoil Ultra Platinum next oil change because it is cheaper at Canadian Tire than the QSUD is at Wal Mart.

Here is some reading on oil:

The Petroleum Quality Institute of America

Here are the test results for QSUD:

The Petroleum Quality Institute of America
Saw some info about how Shell changed the Rotella T6 forumula recently and removed the SM rating on the label? This mean much? Are most people who use T6 using the 5W-40?
Go with 5w30...that seems to be the good middle ground...if you're in a cold state you'll benefit from 0w30...during the cold month. Every car I own and my family ever own has been 5w30 except for my sister prius which uses 0w20, which i'm guess is more for gas milage cause of the lighter grade.

I go with the cheapest national brand synthetic oil (castrol, Pennzoil, Mobil, etc) that's on sale...unless you're racing and pushing your car close to redline, i'm 99.9% sure it makes no difference on protection as long as you're on topic of maintenance. Difference is how long these oil last, 10k, 15k miles...I prefer to change around 5-7k miles with cheap 100% synthetic to min sludge build up then go with this highly marketed brand that claim 10k, 15k, 20k, annual changes.

2012 Forester XT Touring
2003 Forester XT
I have 140k miles and switch between 0W-20 Mobil 1 High Mileage and Valvoline High Mileage (I have Amazon alerts for when either of these get below $25 for the 5 quart jug).

I also do oil changes every 4,000 miles since basically everyone falls under the Severe Driving Interval of 3750 miles.
I agree, consumer report did a study on this and another car magazine did it too and confirmed CR findings....didn't matter of the brand, as long as it meets spec and grade. I buy the cheapest full synthetic...which lately has been Castrol Magnatec 5w30 full synthetic. I've been bad with my maintenance....oil change every 6-8k miles, spark changed at 101k miles. med school got me lazy, but I'm thinking about buying Walmart's Super Tech 5w30 Synthetic since its Dexos Gen 2 certified...and I plan to take care of my car better now and do the recommended oil change interval at 3,750 miles!
Since some '11s have an oil burning problem, check your oil -at least - weekly until you get used to its oil habits.
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